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It’s okay to be scared

Here’s a picture of me and my girl (don’t ask me why she’s in a bathing suit. I choose my battles.) playing a board game called Spy Ally. It’s one of her favs.

Let’s be real. These are scary times.

We are in lock down mode over here in Southern Oregon. My husband is holed up in his office scheduling appointments because he’s not sure how much longer he’ll be able to work. The shelves are eerily bare at the supermarket and I’m counting the number of toilet paper rolls I have left. Plus I’m not sure what to say when my kids ask me when they’ll get to go back to school.

The brain hates uncertainty.

It’s the largest energy consumer in the body. Uncertainty means extra work for the brain. And, more than anything, unfamiliarity sets the brain into a red alert, overdrive.

My brain, for example, has been screaming at me in all caps for the past week, “YOU MUST LOCATE MORE TOILET PAPER IMMEDIATELY!!!!”

Some folks appear to be above it all, choosing not to live in fear.

These are the optimists among us who see only good things on the horizon once we pass through this historic hiccup.

In between the toilet paper hoarders and the rainbows and unicorns, you will find me in the middle holding my loudspeaker and hollering …

It’s okay to be afraid!!!

Remember, emotions have a purpose. Fear is no exception.

Fear, channeled properly, gives us the energy and focus to prepare and take action when faced with the unexpected. It is where we locate our intuition, our instincts.

It is precisely what helps us get to the good side of historical hiccups.

I think about Jason Bourne. In the second movie, when he is living in India and he immediately notices that dude driving the rental car through town. Right away he notices him. Right away he finds his girl. Right away he knows to get the hell out of there. With good reason. The bad guy ends up shooting his car off the overpass killing his girlfriend. Not sure if this was the best example for what I’m trying to say…

My point is this: let’s stop shaming fear and let’s start talking about how to work with it.

It’s true.

Fear can take an irrational turn.

I get why the spiritual types want to bypass this kind of fear. It leads to all kinds of everybody for themselves, there’s no more toilet paper, we’re all going to die so I’ll just stuff my face with Cheetos and stockpile ammo kinds of bad.

On the other hand, denying fear or even shaming it, leads to other kinds of let’s go party at the beach because I’m too young and hot to get sick bad.

First thing to do wherever you find yourself on the spectrum is to STOP and FEEL IT. Put your hand on your heart and go inside without needing to figure anything out. Just feel your damn feelings (tough love Amy there).

Sit with the vibrations in your body. Give your emotions the attention they ask for. Notice that the more you are willing to pay attention, the more your body shifts out of paralysis and into flow.

This is where you want your fear to be. This is where your intuition lives. Where you make your best decisions. Where you are able to problem solve and make the best choices.

Then go move your body. Emotions need to flow. Stuffing them down by denying them or shaming them or eating them or pouring wine over them, leave them trapped and stagnant where they fester, begging you to drench them with more Cheetos and wine. Not helpful.

Run. Hike. Jump. Ride. Stretch.

And rest.

Do your brain a favor and give it some time to be off duty for bit. Use a meditation app like Calm or Waking Up, even Peloton.

If you’re not a meditator, this would be a grand time to start.

Then, maybe, take a nap. And get yourself into nature (if you can).

Here’s how I’m working with my fear:

I’m planting vegetables.
I’m keeping the pantry stocked.
I’m keeping my family home even if some people think I’m being “over-cautious.”
I’m staying informed without overdoing it on too much news.
I’m unfriending conspiracy theorists and others who live on the irrational side of fear.
I’m allowing fear-shamers to think what they want to think about my choices.
I’m exercising and meditating daily.
I’m getting enough sleep.
I’m practicing gratitude.
I’m washing my hands, like A LOT.
I’m conserving toilet paper 🙂
I’m sanitizing surfaces on the regular.
I’m giving blood and thinking of other ways to be helpful in my community.
I’m staying busy with my projects – organizing a summit and working on my book.
I’m getting outside with my family as much as I can.
I’m enjoying extra time to be with my kids.
I’m staying in touch with friends and family via text and zoom.
I’m learning how to play new board games.

Fear is not the enemy. When you let it flow, it’s your secret weapon.

How are you working with fear? Post a comment below!

 

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